Viewpoint: Independent body better to fight corruption in China

Viewpoint: Independent body better to fight corruption in China

CHINA - Corruption among officials remains a serious problem, and it is not just officials at the grassroots level in China. As the efforts intensify, some senior officials have been investigated and prosecuted for corruption, and the amount of money involved has been staggering.

The seemingly never-ending stream of corruption scandals is fuelling increasing public anger. In surveys conducted by before the annual sessions of the National People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee this year, corruption was one of the respondents' biggest concerns.

Why is corruption still such a serious problem in China? One of the most important reasons must be the deficiencies in the existing anti-corruption system, which prevent the anti-graft agencies from fulfilling their duties to their full potential.

There are two main loopholes, the agencies' lack of independence and the dispersion of anti-corruption power.

Supervision must be independent of the power it supervises.

Nobody can effectively supervise their boss. However, in the current anti-corruption system, local anti-graft agencies are subject not only to higher supervising agencies, but also to the local government and local Party leaders as well.

This means people specialising in anti-graft work have to follow the orders of, and write reports to, local leaders who are supposed to be under their supervision as well. How can they report the corruption of local leaders if it is to these local leaders they have to make their reports?

Being subject to local government leaders, the members of anti-graft agencies also depend on local leaders for their promotion and welfare, making themselves vulnerable to the intervention of higher power. In cases where local government leaders are involved in corruption, local anti-graft staff often fail in their duties because they are not able to resist such intervention.

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